"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Spellings Slides toward the Basest of the Base

Sam Dillon in the Times has a story on the thumb screw tightening in the states that is being applied by ED. Doug Christensen notes in the piece that he saw the new meanness emerging beginning in April, when state superintendents met in Washington to be excoriated by Spellings’ underlings on what a crumby job they were doing in meeting NCLB mandates. By May 15, Maggie, herself, was firing off letters left and right, including one to California’s NCLB administrator, Diane Levin, who had recently survived a federal review of the State’s transfer policies. More documentation on transfers would be needed, or millions could be lost:
Ms. Levin said California felt whipsawed. “We’re doing everything the law asks us to do,” she said, “which in a state this size is a huge amount of work, and we’re treated like we’re doing nothing.”

Dozens of other states have also felt the tougher enforcement.
What appears to be going on here is a desperate case of election year politics, where the White House must energize their three-headed monster base to have a chance at avoiding in November a wholesale repudiation of a failed administration and the rubber stamp conservative Congress that enabled their over-reaching and arrogant policies. If you look at the polling since the early Spring, things have been going south for the White House, and Republican congressmen are being swept along with the current. The Dubai Debacle, in many respects, represents the Chernobyl moment for this band of crony-crooks, exposing a corrupt incompetence in a way that could no longer be ignored by the American people.

With The Twig at 33% approval, it was time for Rove & Co. to dig in, and there was no place to go except to appeal to the fires of the unholy trinity:
  1. the Norquistians, representing the corporate socialists who want to transfer the Federal Treasury to corporate coffers,
  2. the Falwellians, who want State sponsorship for their religious indoctrination programs, and
  3. the Wolfowitzian elites, who equate American economic hegemony with the spread of democracy.
Translated to the mundane terms of education policy, it means that the Spring ED offensive will continue into the Fall with
  1. the efforts to privatize K-12 intensified to light the fires inside the edu-corporations,
  2. the effort to create voucher programs intensified for the sake of the Bush’s Temple congregation, and
  3. efforts to reshape K-20 education intensified around the needs of American worldwide economic domination.
If I were in one of these pressure cooker positions getting the heat turned up from one of Spellings’ trained seals, I would find a way to release a little of the pressure between now and November. It could be that by the middle of November the fire under this smelly pot will be little more than a pilot light.

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